Nigeria have concluded preparations for Sunday’s CHAN qualifier away to Benin Republic by releasing a 20-man squad list, which is headed by team captain Ikechukwu Ezenwa.
The team trained in Kano for three weeks under the supervision of head coach Salisu Yusuf, before being released for the weekend’s league matches on Thursday.
A breakdown of the squad list shows Akwa United have the highest number of representatives with four, while Enugu Rangers have three, and Enyimba, FC Ifeanyi Ubah, and MFM FC Lobi Stars each have two.
Salisu selected some of his trusted and in-form players, such as Super Eagles goalkeeper Ezenwa, Ibrahim Alhassan, Rabiu Ali, and China Akas among other relatively newcomers to the international fold.
Some notable exclusions are Mfon Udoh, Jamiu Alimi and Elisha Golbe.
While Udoh was understandably left out due to the injury he sustained in Tuesday’s practice game against a Kano selected side, Alimi – who has been on the fringes of the Super Eagles and also a regular in the last CHAN team – was dropped.
Golbe, the right-back for table-topping Plateau United, has converted three free-kicks in the league to date, but appears to have lost out to Enugu Rangers winger Osas Okoro, who is listed as a defender on the list and is equally adept at set pieces.
Goalkeepers: Ikechukwu Ezenwa (FC Ifeanyi Ubah), Theophilus Afelokhai (Enyimba), Dele Ajiboye (Plateau United)
Defenders: Orji Kalu, Osas Okoro (Enugu Rangers), Stephen Eze (FC Ifeanyi Ubah), Ariwachukwu Emmanuel (Akwa United), China Akas (Enyimba), Nasiru Sani (Katsina United)
Midfielders: Hafiz Aremu, Ifeanyi Ifeanyi, Alhassan Ibrahim (Akwa United), Rabiu Ali (Kano Pillars), Raphael Ayagwa (Lobi Stars), Mathias Samuel (El Kanemi Warriors)
Forwards: Sikiru Olatunbosun, Stephen Odey (MFM FC), Thomas Zenke (Nasarawa United), Kingsley Eduwo ( Lobi Stars), Ifeanyi George (Enugu Rangers)